These Are The Days Of Our Lives

Composer: Roger Taylor (credited to the band)
Album: Innuendo (1991)
Single: 2 December, 1991, Double A-side with Bohemian Rhapsody (re-release)
Meter: 4/4
Key: C Major
Form:

      Intro | Verse | Chorus |
            | Verse | Chorus |
             | Solo | Chorus'| Outro (Intro') |

Stylistically this song is a pop-ballad with heart-felt nostalgic lyrics. The songform ballad-like alternates Chorus and Verse except the bridge-like Solo section (with different chord progression) substitutes the Verse in the third cycle. This is one of the most simple form in the entire Queen songbook. The harmony is not very adventurous, the home key stays clear throughout, each phrase starts on the tonic chord (except the Bridge-solo). We have modal infections (ie. flat seventh) in the harmony.
 The main instrument of the backing track is the synth. Brian on guitar (beside the long guitar solo) plays some lead and rhythm fills in remarkably varied styles (strummed and arpeggiated chords, lead fills, slow scales). There are no guitar harmonies nor *backing* vocal harmonies in the song only the lead vocal is harmonized in parallel thirds in the Chorus (Freddie double tracked). John on bass plays some nice arch-like motifs in both Verse and Chorus sections (shades of "The Show...")
 The range of the lead vocal is round one octave (G-G). Freddie uses his softer voice throughout the song.


Walkthrough

Intro:
It's a four measure percussion figure with asymmetric 3+5 beat arranged for congas (played by David Richards) and hi-hats. The figure keeps playing during most of the song except the first half of the second Verse and a short pause before the outro. The combination of a four measure rhythm figure and the often non-four-sqare phrasing results the two getting out of phase and remaining so for most of the time. Check it out!

Verse:
This section is 18 measures long (4+4+10). The harmonic phrase-form is AAB, the melodic phrase-form is ABC. Omitting some passing chords the harmonic rhythm is constant throughout. Note the chain of fourths in the last phrase. The passing chords and parallel sixths in the accompaniment often use 3+5 and 3+3+2 rhythmic pattern foreshadowning the Chorus.

/-------------- 2x ----------------\\
| C     | - (F) | F     | -  (Bb)  |
| I     | - (IV)| IV    | - (IV/IV)|


| C/G  | -   | G   | -   | Dm  | -   | Am  | -   | G   | -   |
| I    | -   | V   | -   | ii  | -   | vi  | -   | V   | -   |

The melodic phrases start shortly after downbeats.
The arrangement is added some interesting percussions. Note the off-beat guitar scale in the first Verse, and three descending scales in the second Verse.

Chorus:
It's 15 measures long, but the phrasing is square until the closing (4+4+4+3, AAA'B). Harmony vocal is added in parallel thirds. Queen have never used two part parallel third vocal harmonies so extensively before this song. The only curious thing in the chord progression is the third phrase with the "chromatic bVII" progression (see also in "...To Pleasure"), some inverted chords (both second and first inversion), and the counterpart like bassline in the third phrase. This section has the quickest harmonic rhythm.

/------------ 2x -----------\\
| C    | G/B  | F    | -    |
| I    |  V   | IV   | -    |


| C  Dm C | G/B Am G | Bb *  Bb | F/A   |   * : C3#57
| I       | V        | bVII     | IV    |


| C/G   | G    | F    |
| I     | V    | IV   |

The lead phrases strart on downbeats and are dominated by descending figures. The rhythm department is dominated by the asymmetric 3+3+2 accents (more strongely than in the other sections) except the last phrase.
The last Chorus adds more lead guitar fills. The last chord is prolonged for four measures then it resolves back to the tonic (plagal cadence) where the conga figure enters again and starts the Outro. While the guitar play a last jazzy figure and Freddie whispers his legendary good-bye ("I still love you") the synth fades out then slowly the congas too.

Solo (Bridge):
This 20 measures long section consists of two long phrases with identical chord progression. The harmony makes contrast with the rest of the song by not using the tonic chord. This and the position of the section (around 2/3 into the song) makes this section work as an instrumental Bridge.

/--------------------------------- 2x -------------------------------\\
| Dm   | -    | Am   | -    | Em   | -    | Bb   | Am   | G    | -   |
| ii   | -    | vi   | -    | iii  | -    | bVII | vi   | V    | -   |

Note the Am > Em > Bb > Am progression is also a variant of the "chromatic bVII" progression.
The two halves of the solo are different in style. The first one is a slow "meditative" tune with some non-quantized rhythms. The second half is busier and effected with echo. Note the bell-trees.